The Lodge RSPB, Sandy. March 2011.

With a couple of hours to spare I went to the hide at the Lodge to see what would come down to drink. Despite being very busy,people wise, the birds were not put off at all. A nice little selection of Siskin,Mealy and Lesser Redpoll and a couple of unexpected Stock Doves. The resident male Sparrowhawk put on 2 spectacular quick entrances, twisting and turning on a 'ten pence' right in front of the hide. Way too quick for a shot, then again if I'd tried I would haved missed this 'Top Gun' spectacle. And down below in the water the newts were active alongside a mating pair of Toads coming up for air !!!.

March 2011.

Over the last week the temperatures dropped at night, down to -6 here on occasion, but the days have been improving, which is the norm' as I had gone back to work. I decided to have a go taking an image of the moon what with it being a unique viewing time. The closest in 18 years, called a Super moon or 'Perigee' in Greek terminology.

There were small numbers coming to seed down at the farm, mostly Reed Buntings and Chaffinches, but I did notice a Brambling mixed in with them. The Hares had been showing a couple more times, I should be going to view a good place for them midweek so hope to get some images, the crops are just at the right height for them to hunker down and disappear in.

Due to the cold evenings I had not seen many moths whilst at work, but was happy to find this Early Grey sat up near a light. During the days I had seen a couple of butterflies, namely Comma and Brimstone, but the newts had not been showing at home in the pond.

Beeston Wildlife Group.Bedfordshire.March 2011.

Derek proudly showing the 2000th ringed bird at Beeston.

The 2000th bird ringed turned out to be this Goldfinch. Although it was fairly quiet in regards to the birds trapped, it didn't spoil the occasion in reaching this grand figure. Sods Law that I didn't get there earlier as I would of been treated to a cracking Siskin, I will have to get up earlier in future.

This lovely Reed Bunting turned out to be a grand ringing too. This was Denise's 400th bird ringed and a species she is most familiar with, they are very nice birds indeed when viewed in the hand. So double celebrations and a slice of cake to top it off.
And remarkably the moth trap was a huge success, for this time of year the catch was to dumbfound John. A catch more akin to nearer summer months, yet the 13th March turned up no less than 11 different species and a total of 85 moths !.
There were a couple of new species for Beeston recorded, and for me a new moth and undoubtedly the star of the day.. a Pine Beauty. Hopefully next month will bring more birds and hopefully a warbler, and fingers crossed the moth trap proves to be a winner again.
Clouded Drab.

Common Quaker.

Lead - coloured Drabs.

Pine Beauty.

Pine Beauty.

Pine Beauty.

The Brecklands. March 2011.

I was joined on this visit by Sarah and my Dad. This was a site I had not visited before but by the amount of birders turning up I thought this had to be good for our target bird 'the Goshawk'.
Sarah and my Dad had never seen one before and with lovely clear blue skies it looked very promising, and with an earlier report of one just before arriving we began to scan the horizon. It turned out to be a long wait though and after a few hours the only shouts of 'Hawk' from some birders turned out to be Sparrowhawks and a Buzzard. But whilst we were all watching a Sparowhawk flying at tree top level some distance away, every ones long wait turned to joy as a Goshawk suddenly appeared and mobbed the Sparrowhawk. It proceeded to give distant views flying around the tree tops and perching up before soaring higher and further away. The heat haze at that distance played havoc with the scope view and camera but we had all connected, the sheer size against the Sparrowhawk stood out so well and the dark grey back and stark white undertail coverts/ rump and long tail showing extremely well. My dad later read that it has a large white rump appearance due to fluffing up of the undertail coverts during displaying. Most of us were content to leave after our sighting, but all the while there we were graced by singing Woodlark high overhead and accompanied by Crossbills,Siskin and Yellowhammers it made for a great visit.

The Farm and a Moth.March 2011.

As the title says just one moth for the start of March. I actually found two but the Bee Moth was not photographed and being a 'Micro' moth I usually dont worry with them, its hard enough trying to identify macros a lot of the time. This moth photographed here is the Satellite Moth, the unmistakeable markings on the wings does not lend to confusion with this one. Having not trawled through all my moth images, this moth does not ring any bells so I think this is the first one for me or at least to photograph. We had a cold snap over a few nights with temperatures going down to -4 and so Im not surprised I didnt find anymore, nice sunny days but too cold for stuff to be active at night.

Down at the farm I was attracting a few buntings in to the scaterred seed, and using my hide for the first time was surprised that a few birds took to it and came to feed, so a few more times should do the trick before introducing some perches. Apart from the visiting Yellowhammer,Reed Bunting,Chaffinch and Dunnock in the vacinity I watched a couple of Hares and an overflying flock of around 1000 Golden Plover, just a few more there than the 30 or so from last month around the nearby fields.

February 2011.

As February came to an end I added one more photographed moth to the list, this is the Engrailed, I also saw a Hebrew Character but left that as it looked newly emerged and the wings seemed curled under on the tips. March should bring a few more to face the camera so I will have to look at getting my moth light dusted off.

February 27th 2011. Rainham.

After completing my last night shift I picked up my dad and headed off to Rainham. As my workplace was closer to there than going home it seemed right to give it a go. The 'Slaty' had been reported there a few times the day before so you never know we might get lucky. Due to the time I headed for Coldharbour lane and then started the search from there. There was a gathering of larger gulls distant on Wennington Marsh, but no joy there. There were plenty of gulls flying and loafing around in front of the Shooters Hide' but mostly all Black headed. A view of the tip produced no gulls whatsoever, they all seemed to be heading north. After nearly 6 hours I called it a day as a lot more birders did, just as the weather was turning and rain approaching. I was a bit peeved but not so much as some of the others trying to connect with this gull, for some it was anywhere between their 5 to 8 visit for the 'Slaty'.